Elementary schools ready for return to in-person learning, April 5

147
File photo by/Dakota Antelman A file photo from last summer shows the Goodnow School in Marlborough. As local elementary school students return to in-person learning, the Goodnow school is adding an entirely new class to maintain social distancing.

By Vicki Greene, Contributing Writer

Marlborough – Elementary school reopening plans are taking shape on a tight timeline as a state-mandated deadline approaches. In Marlborough, administrators confirmed, March 23, a series of specific modifications that have them feeling confident in those plans.

Reopening plan makes changes to school landscape

Marlborough currently has a number of students learning in an all-remote format, instead of the hybrid option.

Superintendent Michael Bergeron told the School Committee, March 23, that his plan is informed, in part, by a survey sent to parents of those students. That gave them the option to move their students back to in person learning if they wanted to. 

Seventy-eight students who had been remote will, indeed, now return to full-time, in-person learning, according to Bergeron.

As a result, the district will add a third-grade class at the Goodnow Brothers School and a fourth-grade class at the Sgt. Charles J. Jaworek School. That’s in order to keep class size down and to make social distancing possible.  

There is a teacher currently at Jaworek that will fill the new classroom spot and a long-term substitute at the Goodnow School who will take on the new third-grade class through the end of the year.

Administrators stress continued need for strong mask policies, social distancing

As some schools have struggled to find space for students to safely spread out, Bergeron reassured the School Committee, March 23, that Marlborough is in good shape. 

Students in Grades K-2 will maintain a six-foot distance between desks, while those in Grades 3 – 5 will sit with no less than three feet of social distance, Bergeron noted. 

Teachers in every classroom will maintain a six-foot distance from students.

Specifically, several schools have larger cafeterias and can accommodate all students for lunch, he said. In schools that have smaller spaces, administrators plan to use gyms and other spaces to maintain social distancing requirements during lunch.

Snack breaks will coincide with mask breaks and students will go outside, weather permitting, as an added precaution.

Aside from lunch and snacks, though, Bergeron stressed that masks must be worn by all students and staff even if staff have been vaccinated.  

“We need to be the role models in this,” he said.

Schools maintain PPE stockpile, cleaning regimen

Parents of returning students who plan to ride the bus must contact the district.  

Director of Finance and Operations Douglas Dias said, March 23, that the district will assign seats to those students who choose to ride, while also confirming that bus windows will remain open by at least two inches at all times. 

As for PPE, administrators say the district has supplies in each building including masks, gloves, gowns, and hand sanitizer with extra supplies in a central location.

Deep cleaning and sanitizing of each building, meanwhile, will continue at night. The district has contracted with a third-party to specifically clean high-touch areas during the day, as well, Dias explained to the School Committee.  

State Education Commission Jeffrey Riley has called for middle school students (Grades 6 – 8) to return to in-person learning on April 28. Bergeron has not yet presented any draft recommendation for such a return.